This is part 3 of my 4 part series on acne rosacea. In part 1 of the series I provided an overview of rosacea. In part 2 I described the symptoms of rosacea in detail. Here in Part 3 I give you my supportive skin care regimen that helps my patients minimize rosacea flair ups and maintain rosacea remissions. In the final article of this series I’ll discuss my dermatologic approach to rosacea treatment, including medicines, procedures and diet advice.
All of the information comes from my dermatology practice. I’ve helped a lot of people with their rosacea over the years and I’ve learned a lot in the process about this very temperamental skin condition. I also have mild rosacea myself which gives me the added ‘opportunity’ to understand this common skin condition from the inside out.
To find the right products for your rosacea prone skin you first need to understand that when you have rosacea your facial skin is is sensitive. Your rosacea is easily provoked by anything that irritates your facial skin. Most acne products, anti aging products and alcohol containing products are irritating. Some botanical products, such as those with tea tree oil or rosemary may also irritate sensitive rosacea skin. Having rosacea doesn’t mean you can’t ever use these types of products, it just means that you have to ‘sneak up’ on your skin with them; only using them when your rosacea is controlled, choosing lower strengths and less frequent applications. The minute your skin starts to flair up you have to stop using anything even slightly irritating and go back to gentle, rosacea-healing skin care until your skin calms down again.
Whether your rosacea is active or in remission, your skin is still sensitive and needs carefully selected skin care to prevent rosacea flair ups. Some skin care products can actually help control rosacea but a lot of other products aggravate and trigger it. Knowing what to use on your skin and what to avoid will give you some measure of control over this common and frustrating skin problem.
Specific Skin Care Tips for Rosacea
The basic steps for any complete skin care regimen are: cleanse, treat, moisturize, sun protect. For each of these steps I’ll explain what I’ve found to be the best type of skin care products for acne rosacea. I’ll also tell you what types of products to avoid.
The Best Skin Cleansers for Acne Rosacea:
The obvious goal when you cleanse your skin is to remove excess oil, dirt, previously applied products and debris. It’s also an opportunity to deliver medicine to help control and treat your acne rosacea. What many people don’t realize is that skin cleansing is also potentially risky for rosacea because many skin cleansers contain harsh ingredients that are irritating for rosacea prone skin. You need to be very particular about your cleanser if you have rosacea. The most effective and the safest cleanser I’ve found for rosacea is Calming Zinc Soap. The medicated 2% pyrithione zinc in this product helps to control pityrosporum yeast germs and possible also demodex mites, both of which may be increased in number in the pores of people with rosacea. For the rare person allergic to pyrithione zinc, I recommend a non-foaming glycerin cleansing product such as Whole Foods 365 brand glycerin bar soap, Toleriane Cleanser or Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser.
Almost all people with rosacea prone skin need to avoid potentially irritating ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid. Only if you have the most extremely oily skin should you use foaming cleansing products with the harsh sodium laurel sulfate type of ingredients. Lastly, I don’t recommend that you use facial cleansing wipes because they leave a chemical residue on your skin; I prefer rinsing cleansers off the skin with water to minimize chemical residue and to better prepare your skin for your next important skin care step.
Skin Care ‘Treatment’ For Acne Rosacea Skin Care:
I always recommend that you apply your most important therapeutic products immediately after washing and before applying any products with a thicker consistency like moisturizers. I’ve found that for rosacea control, calming products are a key therapeutic step and the most effective contain high concentration green tea antioxidants. In my opinion, the best of the best green tea products are Replenix CF Cream and Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy – Replenix Power of Three Creamboth of which also contain the important ingredients caffeine and hyaluronic acid. I consider these three ingredients natural remedies, or treatment for rosacea. In fact, these two Replenix Creams are so soothing that I advise my patients to apply them first, and to apply any prescription topical medicine for treating their rosacea on top of their Replenix. These Replenix Creams also help soothe facial inflammation from seborrheic dermatitis and sun damage, and many people with rosacea also have these two skin problems as well. I’ve never found a skin care product that was even remotely as effective as Replenix CF Cream and Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy – Replenix Power of Three Cream, so they are the cornerstone of my rosacea skin care regimen and I consider them therapeutic.
Picking The Right Face Cream To Moisturize Rosacea Prone Skin:
Providing the correct level of hydration for your rosacea prone skin is important for preventing rosacea flair ups. Unlike regular acne (acne vulgaris), acne rosacea is not worsened if you apply oil containing moisturizers to your skin. In fact, it’s important that you pick the right moisturizing product for your skin based on your moisturizing needs because in my experience, properly hydrated skin is less prone to rosacea flair ups. If your skin is excessively oily chose an oil free product such as Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin, or possibly no moisturizer at all. If your skin is dry, chose a more hydrating product with an oil ingredient that has an elegant and light feeling on the skin such as Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Dry to Normal Skin, Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or any other oil containing moisturizer that you like.
As I’ve mentioned before in my general skin care advice, your moisturizer should ‘dial in’ the moisture your skin needs; properly hydrated skin is less prone to irritation, and thus rosacea, but moisturizers provide no ‘magic’ beyond hydration, regardless of product claims. I recommend that you apply your moisturizer after your treatment products and before you sunscreen. Make-up, if you use it, goes on top of your other skin care products and as the last thing that you apply to your skin.
Sunscreen for Rosacea:
Sunscreen application is a critical skin care step for anti-aging skin care and healthy skin. Plus, some people find that sunlight triggers their rosacea to flair. Sunscreen products, however, are tricky because I’ve found that many ‘chemical’ sunscreen ingredients irritate rosacea, causing flair ups. I recommend that my rosacea patients use sunscreens with mineral sunscreen ingredients because the minerals seem less likely to aggravate their skin. In my opinion, the mineral sunscreens also provide the best, most broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection for wrinkle, sun spot and skin cancer prevention. All of the sunscreens that I sell have worked well for my rosacea patients. (Click here to view them). ofApply your mineral sunscreen after the therapeutic and moisturizing products because the sunscreen ingredients are designed to sit on top of your skin bouncing off the sun’s rays. Make up, if you use it, is applied on top. Many sunscreen products are capable of acting like a moisturizer, whether the product label mentions it or not. If your skin doesn’t feel dry after the Replenix Cream then you may find that your sunscreen product provides all the additional moisturizing hydration that you need and you can skip the moisturizing step mentioned above.
To summarize my skin care tips for rosacea:
- I recommend only nonirritating skin care products.
- 2% pyrithione zinc and Replenix Cream with green tea/caffeine/hyaluronic acid are key elements of my rosacea skin care regimen
- I have my patients apply medicated prescription products after their Replenix Cream
- The right moisturizing face cream to ‘dial in’ proper hydration is important
- Mineral sunscreens for sun protection are best
My 5 Article Series On Rosacea:
Rosacea Skin Care Tips From My Dermatology Practice
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Photo: Thanks and gratitude to Mitch